John V. & Angelo M. mull the mysterious OSRR on the South Coast

Stories from John Vonderlin and Angelo Mithos
Hi June,
   Here’s Angelo’s next to last email. I actually now believe he was right that the former Pescadero tunnel by the parking lot, seemingly going nowhere useful was by the OSR. I’m going to cover that and my reasons why in an email to him. Enjoy. John
Hi, John.  Thanks for the article. Couple of things I note:  Harvey’s estimate to complete the line was considerably higher than the Chief Engineer’s estimate of approximately the same time. (Wonder if Harvey ever talked to his Chief Engineer, Rogers!)  I recall an S.F. Call article at one point talking about a half million dollar tunnel at Waddell; a tunnel of such cost would indicate an intent to tunnel behind the entire bluff at Waddell. This plan was later changed to  building the County road between the railroad and the mountainside to protect the railtoad–never accomplished.  Also, supporting this change in planning: on the list of trestles 200′  were planned for Waddell. (The list  of trestles, built and planned, was in the Bondholders Report, which Mr. Wagner used in his Ocean Shore book.)  I have read that the trestle lumber was brought in by barge in some cases in advance of the railroad building. The Bondholders Report also mentioned “1796 feet of tunnels,” but gave no locations. My Pescadero beach bore may have been included, but I have no idea where other tunneling would have been required. A bit off topic, but I’d read somewhere in  praise of the Ocean Shore’s builders how they wisely had started building at both ends to complete the line.  My own view, in hindsight, is that it would have been better to build from S.F. toward Santa Cruz. And so the fifteen miles of track building on the Southern Division could have been added to the 38+ miles from S.F. to Tunitas–before the OS ran  out of money–thus gaining considerable business from the San Gregorio and Pescadero areas and  bringing the line just past Gazos Creek and withi! n reach of the vast redwood area the OS coveted–no “green” philosophy existed in those days.  And,  after all, on the southern end the OS gained only the log-hauling for the San Vicente Lumber Co. from Swanton to the S.V.’s mill on Delaware Ave. in Santa Cruz. The Southern Pacific with its paralell route got all the Davenport cement  plant’s output as well as nearly all the passenger and remaining freight business.  P.S. please excuse the different type sizes in this email–no idea what I did wrong.  Angelo


Hi Angelo,
   This is part of an article from the April 12, 1910 issue of “The Call” about Harvey’s receivership testimony. He mentions a need for $83,000+ dollars for a tunnel in the Tunitas to Scott Creek gap. That might  be a cheap version of the Waddell Bluff tunnel you mentioned or something else. Such an accurate number indicates extensive planning to me, but this is the OSR we’re dealing with, and it might have all been dreams or a smoke and mirrors sales pitch. Does the $54K figure seem right for the San Gregorio, Pomponio, and Pescadero trestles, plus any of the smaller ones south down to and including Scott Creek?   Enjoy. John


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